Written by Sam White.
For the last year, we’ve had to learn to do a lot of things from home – work, shop, teach, learn, cook, eat – and as gyms and fitness centres around the world closed down, that meant exercising at home, too.
The thought of working out at home can feel overwhelming. Where do you even begin? If you’re not a fitness expert or are someone who relies on gym machines for your workout, it can be an intimidating task trying to find a decent routine.
With a lot of time on my hands during quarantine, I came up with a system to help curate the perfect at home workout for people of all skill levels.
Videos, Videos, Videos
I can’t stress enough how wonderful YouTube is. There are literally thousands of YouTube channels that provide awesome fitness videos for free. If you’re not sure how to create a workout for yourself that works, I strongly urge you to take advantage of this useful resource.
You can find workout videos for almost every style imaginable: yoga, HIIT, aerobics, kickboxing, weight lifting, dancing, videos for beginners, experts, workouts for pregnancy, the elderly, the disabled, and everything in between. With so much content, it may take some time to find the videos that work for you, but I promise it’s worth it once you do.
For the first half of lockdown, I exercised exclusively by following along with workout videos. It took some searching, but I eventually found a solid rotation of around 5 or 6 different videos and cycled through them throughout the week. Sometimes I would do the same one video all week, other times I would do a different video every day. It was all dependent on how I felt that day. Always remember that you are in complete control of your routine.
Following along with workout videos is great because they take all the guesswork out of it. They provide you with the moves, the guidance, the timing, the motivation and promises of results. But what if you’re ready to level up?
Customising Your Routine
Doing workout videos can be fun and helpful in the beginning, but if you’re planning on doing them for a long period of time, they can become a bit repetitive. It’s super important to regularly switch up your fitness routine to avoid boredom and burnout.
Once I felt I had ‘levelled up’ from the videos, I decided to customise my own routine. I went through all of my favourite videos from the previous six months and carefully picked out specific exercises that worked best for my body.
After picking out my favourite clips, I pieced together the ultimate full body workout. This means I might have picked a squat exercise and arm exercise from my favourite kickboxing video and a cardio set from a different aerobic video.
I assembled them into quadrants – legs, arms, abs and cardio – and wrote everything down on paper until I could memorise the order. Now, instead of watching along with a video, I just throw on my headphones or put on the latest episode of the show I’m watching while I do my own custom-made workout.
Trial and Error
If there’s one thing to remember while trying to find a fitness routine that works for you, it’s that you’re going to go through a lot of trial and error first. It is so important not to get discouraged if you don’t find the right routine right away.
Everyone’s body physically responds to exercise a different way. What works well for one person may not work well for another – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. If there is a part of a workout you can’t do, that doesn’t make you a failure. It simply means that specific workout doesn’t work for you. All you have to do is replace it with something that does.
Don’t be afraid to modify any workout. If you’re doing a workout video and you can do every move except one, that doesn’t mean you can’t do the workout video. It means you need to replace that specific move with one you can do. This is how you discover the moves that are right for you and the ones that aren’t – by paying attention and listening to your body.